Changes to Florida’s Private Adoption Laws, Taking Effect July 1, 2024

Tate Healey Webster is proud to represent adoption agencies across the state. We keep our finger on the pulse of evolving adoption and ART laws and issues, and always provide our firm clients with important updates and practical advice on how it affects their practice. Below is a brief summary of important revisions to Chapter 63 that are going into effect on July 1, 2024.

Safe Haven

Increased Age Limit:  The new law extends the surrender window to 30 days old.


Hospital Surrenders:  The legislation empowers mothers to confidentially surrender their newborns directly to hospital staff after delivery.


911 Infant Safe Surrender:  The new language creates a new avenue for surrender by allowing parents to call 911 and request a meeting with an EMS provider for the purpose of relinquishing the infant.


Reporting Requirement

Placement Data:  New subsection 63.097(7) requires an adoption entity to report quarterly to the department of children and families the age, race, ethnicity, sex, and county of birth of the child and county of residence of the adoptive family for each finalized adoption.  Also, the fees, costs and expenses assessed by the adoption entity, itemized by categories of subsection (2), and any fees, costs, expenses approved by the court must be reported.

Confidentiality:  In reporting the data, the adoption entity can redact confidential identifying information concerning the child’s biological parents and adoptive parents.  The confidentiality provisions do not apply to the fees, costs, and expenses assessed or paid in connection with the adoption.

Start date:  The reporting requirement begins January 1, 2025.

Website:  The department will maintain a website of this information and report the information quarterly for each adoption agency, including the actual fees, costs, and expenses of the finalized adoption.  The department shall adopt rules for implementation.


Attorney and Professional Fees:  New language “other professionals” was added in the attorney fee section of 63.097(3), so that all attorneys, counselors and other professionals involved in the adoption are included in the $5,000 cap.  A court order approving these fees is required when the total exceeds $5,000.

Other fees, costs and expenses:  Fees and expenses that are not listed as allowable expenses in 63.097(2) will require a court order of approval before payment and based on a finding of extraordinary circumstances.

Fees designated in 63.097(5) as “prohibited fees” which are (i) for locating a minor, (ii) not itemized on the affidavit of expenses,  or (iii) on the affidavit but not a fee of the adoption entity (approved yearly by licensing), not supported by a receipt and not specifying the service, or not identifying the date, time required and hourly fee, are not eligible to receive court approval.

Reasonableness:  An order approving fees, costs, and expenses that exceed the limits set in 63.097 must include a written determination of reasonableness and the court may reject any fee cost or expenditure listed, if the court finds the expense is (i) contrary to Chapter 63, (ii) not supported by a receipt if the expenses is not a fee of the adoption entity, or (iii) not a reasonable fee or expense considering the requirements of Chapter 63 and the totality of the circumstances.

Receipts:  As a result of the emphasis on receipts, we strongly recommend you obtain receipts for all expenses you pay and consider using Commerce Cards which track birth mother expenditures. Without this, your expenses may be rejected and the agency as opposed to the adoptive parents will have to pay these.


Adoption Entity:  Only a Florida adoption entity may place an advertisement that a minor is available for adoption or sought for adoption.  The Florida license number or Florida Bar number of the entity must be included in the advertisement.

Means of publication:  The prohibition against non-Florida entities advertising in Florida appears to be all inclusive, and applies to paid advertisements, articles, notices, newspapers, magazines, internet, billboards, radio, television or similar media.

If you have questions about these important statutory changes, please reach out to Tate Healey Webster.

Contact Us Today

At Tate Healey Webster, we are dedicated to supporting parents, children, and adoptive families throughout the adoption process.

For more information, contact us today for a consultation.

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